This is the case of some newer features in Logmein’s GoToWebinar, and I think they signal a shift in how GoToWebinar sees serving customers (see conclusion).
GoToWebinar as an authoring tool for simulated live events
Prizes go to those who can make something easier to do. Using GoToWebinar’s Simulated Live feature simply begins with a recording of a webinar that’s already done. In fact, their own suggestion is that if you want to start from scratch, you fire up GoToWebinar and make a recording.
I imagine some objectors wishing they had unlimited ability to upload any video file and do whatever they want with it, but let’s keep this in context. GoToWebinar’s first job is as a real time communications solution, not a video production suite.
The flip side is that using GoToWebinar as an authoring tool dramatically simplifies time-to-result for those who want to just get ‘er done (and/or may or may not be able to spell FTP).
Simulated live events include polling, handouts, etc., like a live event
The ability to host a recording in front of a registration page is old news. Being able to include polling, handouts, etc., however, changes the on-demand experience to something significantly more trackable (you can report on this stuff). Gathering continued insight after an asset (your recording) has been created means that you’ll be extending the return on that time investment.
Again, if the pendulum swings too far in the direction of authoring, hardcore L&D people will point out that you’ve been able to do that for a long time with elearning suites (and that elearning suites have way more features for that function). True, but it again misses the point…elearning development is a dang expensive proposition in terms of time (check out @elearningcoach’s capture of different tools and estimations).
It’s not a “right or wrong” or “what’s the best?” proposition, but one of tradeoffs. If you think you just whip out elearning courses, I’m guessing you’ve never built one.
Testing and certification completes the picture
Pass the test, get the certificate. And now you see how the dots connect: authoring + hosting simulated-live events + testing/certification = a whole new, non-real time use case is enabled in a solution whose prowess is real time communication.
The bottom line: GoToWebinar’s value is not “just” real time any more
This post is just about me doing some dot-connecting around the way value is created in and around real time communications. To be sure, GoToWebinar is not the first conferencing software to do this, but they are in a unique position with it: they’re among the leaders in marketshare and mindshare, but arguably one of the easiest to use.
It will be interesting to see where this ends up!